Dear SOS: Beginning around Thanksgiving and continuing into January, Cedar Creek Inn in Laguna Beach serves a dessert they call holiday pie. It is made with cranberries, walnuts, apples and cream cheese. It is outstanding.
Rancho Palos Verdes
Dear Sue: According to restaurant owners Lisa and Larry Ayres, this recipe originated with Larry's mom at the original Cedar Creek Inn in Lake Arrowhead. It was a family recipe that was typically made with summer fruits and lemon curd but she decided to try a cranberry-apple layer with streusel topping for the winter holidays. It is served chilled.
1 hour, 20 minutes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1. Using a paddle attachment, combine the butter, flour and walnuts with an electric mixer and blend until the mixture begins to form a ball and pulls away from the side of the mixing bowl, about 2 minutes.
2. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool.
Filling and topping
2/3cup plus 1 tablespoon (5 ounces) cream cheese
2/3cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup canned whole cranberry sauce
3/4 cup diced Granny Smith apples
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, sifted
1/4cup chopped walnuts
1/4cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1. Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar, stopping to scrape the bottom of the bowl. Continue mixing until well blended.
2. In a separate bowl, whip the cream. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the cranberry sauce, apples and cornstarch. Set aside.
4. Using an electric mixture, blend together the butter, flour, walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon on low speed until butter pieces are pea-sized.
5. Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture into the baked and cooled pie crust. Top it with the cranberry-apple mixture and sprinkle with the streusel topping.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, until the streusel browns slightly. The pie will appear loose, but will set as it cools.
Each of 10 servings: 455 calories; 5 grams protein; 44 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 30 grams fat; 16 grams saturated fat; 72 mg. cholesterol; 67 mg. sodium.